After saying that he had heard from league sources that some teams had inquired about Ryan Mallett, Nick Underhill then backed off a bit yesterday, saying CBA restrictions could make that trade difficult.

Source: CBA restrictions make Ryan Mallett trade unlikely | masslive.com

But a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that bars rookies from renegotiating their contract until after three years makes it unlikely that the first scenario will happen, according to a league source.

Prior to the 2011 CBA, if a team wanted to trade for Mallett, New England would sign him to a new contract and then ship him off in exchange for draft picks. But since it is impossible to make a sign-and-trade deal, teams have been reluctant to meet the Patriots’ asking price, which is believed to be a first- or second-round pick.

Now if the price were lower, a team may be more willing to gamble on both Mallett’s future (he’s completed one pass in a regular-season game) and its ability to retain him if he performs well, which wouldn’t be all that difficult for the acquiring team. If Mallett were for some reason unwilling to sign an extension, the team could keep him beyond 2014 as a restricted free agent and, if his performance warranted its use, the franchise tag.

But there are questions about the Patriots’ motivation to make a deal, even though their leverage will continue to evaporate as he gets close to the end of his rookie contract. If New England were to trade Mallett, who has a base salary of $642,984 in 2013, it may need to spend considerably more to obtain another backup quarterback, assuming it isn’t comfortable with Mike Kafka in that role. Having to make a corresponding move, according to the source, could be a factor in the team’s asking price.

 

 

Greg Bedard backs up Underhill’s report of interest in Mallett:

QB Ryan Mallett in play for trade – Extra Points – Boston.com

Multiple teams have called the Patriots this week about a potential trade for backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, according to three league sources.

Whether the Patriots will trade the 2011 third-round pick is the question. But all three sources said the odds are slightly stronger that Mallett is dealt than kept by the Patriots.

The Patriots have been heavily scouting quarterbacks in the leadup to the draft, and could very well select one during the draft.

The Patriots would like more than a third-round pick after developing Mallett for two years. It’s likely a second this season or a first in ’14 would close the deal.

The potential trading partners aren’t yet known, but the Browns have long been favorites to land Mallett. Not only did Browns general manager Mike Lombardi gush about the trade on NFL Network, but behind the scenes, Lombardi pushed Bill Belichick to take Mallett.

 

 

In the last few minutes Jeff Howe is reporting that the “Browns have called again about Ryan Mallett. The Patriots want at least a second-round pick in return., and Underhill now says that a “source says the Browns “really want Ryan. We’ll see.”

 

 

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